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Lake Lanier Fishing Report: Deep bass bite flourishes with warmer water conditions
Eric Aldrich
Local bass angler Eric Aldrich poses with a fish he caught. - photo by For The Times

Lake Lanier’s water level rose to above full pool and is being drawn back down in anticipation of the spring rainy season. 

Lake Lanier is at 1,070.84 feet, which is just .16 feet below full pool of 1,071. 

The CORP is doing a great job of holding water levels steady, but don’t be surprised if we go above full pool again soon. 

Water temperatures actually rose into the low 50’s this past week. 

The lake is clear to slightly stained on the main lake and stained to very stained in the backs of the creeks as well as in the rivers.

The Chattahoochee River is flowing pretty clear below Buford Dam. 

Check generation schedules before heading out to the river at 770-945-1466.

Bass:  The past week’s warm spell caused water temperatures to rise especially in some of the protected shallow pockets. 

Out on the main lake we are still around 50 degrees but we saw 54 in one spot. 

Any time that water temperatures rises in February, you can bet that some bass will take notice and move shallower. 

The deeper bite has still been best this past week for both numbers and size. 

It’s getting to be that time of year when you can grab your spinning rods and successfully fish the docks. 

Docks will hold bass and other predator fish all year, but there are certain times when the dock bite turns on. 

It usually corresponds with warming water temperatures and usually starts to occur in late winter and will continue on through the spawn. 

When the water temperatures warm over 50 degrees, the bass will pull into certain docks and warm themselves against the black floats. 

The water around the floats warms in the sunlight, which attracts both bass and the prey that they eat. 

There are a few different lures anglers can use to fish docks. 

Anglers who have mastered skipping can have great luck fishing light shaky heads or small jigs around docks. 

If you can master these precise casts/skips, then it will reward you for years to come. 

Adults and kids can practice at home by skipping lures on a flat driveway. 

Use an underhand or roll cast and practice making your lures ‘skip’ along the flat driveway. 

Use a 1/4-ounce splitshot with no hooks for safety purposes. 

Once you master that part, crack your garage door open a few inches to practice casting underneath in to simulate conditions on the lake. 

If you can’t or don’t prefer to skip lures, you can still catch fish casting to the sides or in front of the dock. 

Bass are suckers for a jerkbait worked down the sides next to the floats. 

Once these bass have warmed up after sunning themselves, they will readily come out from under the docks for a quick meal. 

Cast a SPRO McStick 110 or 95 toward these structures and hold on. 

Alternate your cadence and retrieve speed and let the bass tell you their preference. 

The ditch bite is probably your best bet as the spotted and largemouth bass have been stacked in the v-shaped depressions. 

It’s the same deal as it has been all winter long: start shallow early with moving lures like a jerk bait in the morning, then track the fish deeper with your electronics to keep catching fish all day long. 

Stripers: The striper fishing remains good. 

Just as is the case with bass, the stripers are stacking up in the ditches. 

These fish are back in the ditches to eat. 

Keep your eyes peeled looking for birds, fish swirling on the surface and at your electronics to confirm the best areas.

Just because the stripers were up in a pocket yesterday does not mean they will still be there today.  

Stripers are biting all over the lake from Buford dam all the way up into the rivers. 

The best fishing appears to be midway on up lake and in the rivers. 

These hungry, aggressive fish are swimming around picking off herring and shad.

Experiment with fishing different depths and a combination or medium-sized herring or medium shiners. 

Don’t assume that herring will not work because the stripers are only eating small baits.  

Some days fishing with larger or smaller sized bait can get you more bites. 

If the stripers are spooky, then matching the size of the bait becomes more important. 

Keep switching things up until you get a bite. 

Both trolling and pulling live baits continue to work for catching stripers. 

The live baits have been the best producers. 

Purchase several dozen herring and several dozen medium-sized minnows and test to see what size baits work best. 

As the day moves on and the bites reduce, try moving to a new area or keep varying the size of your live baits.

Early or late in the days, the stripers can be found shallow in the pockets, in the backs of the creeks and up lake in the rivers. 

On overcast days, they may stay shallow all day long. 

As the sun rises over the horizon, the stripers will usually follow the bait out deeper into the ditches.

Trolling one or two umbrella rigs behind the boat has been producing some fish, plus trolling allows you to cover new water. 

Continue to keep a SPRO Buck Tail tied on and ready to cast to fish you see on the surface.

The night Bomber Bite is just getting started up again so grab your SPRO McSticks and Bomber Long A’s and enjoy a quiet evening on the lake.

Crappie fishing is picking up. 

We are approaching the best time of the year to catch both numbers and sizes or crappie. 

Check in the pockets, backs of the creeks and in the rivers and look for warmer water. 

Stained or muddy water warms quicker than clear water. 

Crappie biting very well in water that’s 52-53 degrees. 

You can email Eric Aldrich at with comments or questions.

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